Ultimate Spring Break Planner: 50+ Things to Do for Spring Break in (or near) the Fox Cities

Spring Break for Fox Valley students is just around the corner and we’re ready for a little shake-up in our routine and perhaps a little adventuring! We’ve got so many ideas to share with you if you’re looking to stick close to home, stay on a budget, or venture away from home!

T Rex at Milwaukee Public Museum

Message from our Sponsor – Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is bringing T. rex and its ancestors back from extinction when the special exhibit Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family now through May 18! This highly engaging exhibition explores the latest discoveries about the tyrannosaurs’ family tree, overturning our preconceptions about these dominating dinos. While the most famous tyrannosaur is the ferocious T. Rex, paleontologists now know the king of the tyrant lizards (as its name means) was one of the last in a long line of tyrannosaurs that came in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures, spanning different continents and time periods.

Milwaukee Public Museum
Find more information about Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family>>

Special Events during Spring Break  

Curious George at the Building for Kids
Curious George Exhibit at the Building for Kids in Appleton

Always Learning: Nearby Museums to Explore

Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh
Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh

Worth the Drive Children’s Museums

Wonderground Outside Play Area in Winter at Madison Childrens Museum
Wonderground at Madison Children’s Museum

Burn off Energy – Run Around, Jump, Climb & Play

Urban Air Adventure Park Appleton
Flip Zone Bumper Cars at Urban Air, Appleton

Play at a New Park Each Day!

Head out to one of these Perfect for Spring Parks in and around Appleton.

There are some great Oshkosh Parks with the Rubber Ground also!

BONUS! Spring park adventurer pro tip: Bathrooms are open at Fritsch and Fritse Parks in Fox Crossings/Menasha.

playground and slides at Appleton Memorial Park
Perfect for spring! Memorial Park in Appleton

Put That State Parks Pass to Use!

hiking on the Red Bird Trail at High Cliff State Park
Red Bird Trail at High Cliff State Park, Sherwood

Hit a Trail 

There is no shortage of great places to take a walk, hike, or bike ride in the Fox Valley and nearby.

Kids hiking at Fritse Park and Trestle Trail in Neenah
Friendship Trail, Menasha

Learn and Play at a Nature Center

There are 12 Nature Centers for Families About an Hour From Appleton and you can plan a day trip with our ideas for nearby things to do and spots to get coffee and ice cream! Here are some of our favorites:

Plan a Day Out for Animal Lovers

  • MToxins, Oshkosh – Over 50 rare reptiles and amphibians from around the world! 
  • Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Green Bay – FREE! A walk through the woods with animals native to Wisconsin to visit along the way including wolves, coyotes, deer, and ducks that love to be fed.
  • NEW Zoo, Suamico – It is fun to explore here in spring weather when animals are active!
  • Shalom Wildlife Zoo, West Bend – Open on Saturdays and Sundays, through April 22, 2022, you can opt for a fun drive-through experience.
  • Milwaukee Zoo, Milwaukee – Visit the winter-loving animals and stroll through warm indoor exhibits! 
  • Pawffee Shop Cat Cafe, Appleton – Enjoy a cup of coffee and cat snuggles! 
  • Short on time? Try a pet store! PetSmart, Just Pets, and Petco are all fun options in Appleton. 
Milwaukee Zoo
Milwaukee Zoo

Hungry?: Eats and Treats

Wonders Ice Cream Appleton
Wonders Ice Cream, Appleton

Venture a Little Farther from Home: Day Trips 

There are so many amazing places to explore just an hour or two from Appleton (we thought of 15!). We love to explore and find fun things for your family to do when you’re looking to take a little day trip, here are some of our favorites!


Just a short drive away there are so many places to explore in Oshkosh. There are fun murals, we love to visit the Paine Art Center and Gardens, and there are great playgrounds with rubber surfaces to burn energy and play. Find ideas for year-round adventures in Oshkosh and much more on our sister site, Go Oshkosh Kids

New London

Close to the Fox Valley and full of art and natural areas to explore, New London is a great close-to-home destination for families. Visit Mosquito Hill, take a walk along the river, go on a mural hunt, and grab an ice cream cone before your short drive home. This is a great place to spend a winter day also!

Together Mural in New London
Together Mural, New London

Waupaca / Little Hope

If you’re looking for an idyllic day of creek stomping, ice cream cones, and picture-perfect picnic backdrops, Little Hope is your spot. There are lots of things to do nearby including Hartman Creek State Park, mini-golfing at Tom Thumb, waterfront dining at Clearwater Harbor Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, nearby Animal Haven Farm Zoo in Weyauwega. Read more details about a visit to the Waupaca area.


Another city not far from Appleton with massive day trip potential. There are incredible playgrounds, an adventure park with 18 holes of mini-golf, museums, botanical gardens, and more. You can easily plan a day and head home with just a short drive, or a planned weekend in Wausau with kids! Here are our suggestions for a super fun family day!

Stevens Point

About an hour from Appleton, this often overlooked destination is waiting with murals, an amazing sculpture park, miles of trails, a universal playground, and the best ice cream! Read more of our suggestions for a fun day with kids in Stevens Point.

Stevens Point Sculpture Park
Stevens Point Sculpture Park

Port Washington

Slow down for a day in Port Washington exploring a historic lighthouse and amazing playground. Top it off with a trip to the chocolate shop and you’ve got a peaceful and delicious day drip. Read more about exploring Port Washington with your family. 


Visit a lighthouse, playground, zoo, murals, Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, shipwreck, or the beach — there’s something for everyone on a trip to Manitowoc, including a trip to Cedar Crest’s ice cream parlor! Here are some ideas for how to spend your day. 


There’s so much to do in Milwaukee, you could easily extend this into a multiple-day stay, but it isn’t so far that you cannot explore for just a day. We’ve shared some of our favorite Family-Friendly Things to Do in Milwaukee. If you go, do not miss your chance to check out the limited-time exhibit Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family at Milwaukee Public Museum—it is a must-see for dinosaur lovers and is included with your paid entry!  


We’ve created a guide to Visiting the Capital City with Children featuring places to explore, eat, and play. 

Madison State Capital
State Capitol Building, Madison

Want to venture a little farther from home? Check out our 5 Perfect for Spring Break Road Trips and Overnights!

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